Sacha Baron Cohen
Sacha Baron CohenReuters

The New York Times reports that Adam Presser, TikTok’s head of operations, and Seth Melnick, the company’s global head of user operations convened a meeting with more than thirty major Jewish social media influencers to urge the company to combat antisemitism on its platform.

The meeting included big names including Sacha Baron Cohen, Debra Messing, and Amy Schumer.

British Jewish actor Sacha Baron Cohen denounced TikTok for allowing antisemitism on the platform and demanded that it come to an immediate halt, calling it 'the greatest tool of antisemitism since the Nazis.' Baron Cohen also warned that indoctrination starts young - a fact particularly relevant to TikTok, which multiple studies have found to be the most popular platform for children. “If you think back to October 7, the reason why Hamas were able to behead young people and rape women was they were fed images from when they were small kids that led them to hate,” Cohen said.

Melnik and Presser claimed that the process would not be as simple as Baron Cohen insinuated, but urged TikTok to stop the use of the phrase, “From the river to the sea,” which has long been associated with calls to destroy Israel. Executives pushed back, saying that the phrase was open to interpretation. Many of those participating injected to the idea that the phrase could be used "casually," and Messing urged the executives to reconsider.

Presser said TikTok’s “approach up until Oct. 7 (and continuing today), has been that for instances where people use the phrase where it’s not clear, where someone is just using it casually, that has been considered acceptable speech.”

Messing urged the platform to ban the phrase regardless of the intent of the speaker. “I understand that you are in a very, very difficult and complicated place, but you also are the main platform for the dissemination of Jew hate," said the former 'Will and Grace' star.